Martin Luther

Commenting on Scientology, Inside and Outside the Church

Archive for the month “September, 2014”

Quality Control

I thought I had written a post about this, but after rummaging through my older posts, it appears I haven’t. So here goes.

One of the big problems in the Field is that those of us interested in “standard” Scientology have to rely on the recommendations of others. This is in sharp contrast to how it was done at one point within the Church of Scientology. In the olden days, “franchises” (now called “missions”) were relatively plentiful, and not regulated because– let’s face it– you just couldn’t regulate field activities. But at some point, Ron saw the need for “Central Organizations” (called today just “Organizations”) as a central point of quality and “brand identification” for the public. Central Orgs were where missions sent their tough cases, and where mission auditors went to get trained.

Now of course, the Church is a disaster area. What you get may or may not be Standard Tech. Good luck.

For we who have disavowed ourselves of the Church, there are few “Central Orgs” operating independently of the Church. And yet the need for quality control is still there, perhaps even more so. There are a great many practitioners in the field who believe they have a better idea than LRH, and are auditing, but not using the Tech that LRH developed for this purpose. Hence, finding a “standard” auditor in our Field is, to some degree, a game of chance. This is a situation I, and others like me, would like to see resolved.

Here’s the way it currently works. Let’s say you’re a PC who wants to engage the services of a “standard” auditor. Right now, you contact a friend or two in the Field. They ask around and get their best recommendation for someone relatively close to you. You hope the person your friend talked to knows what they’re talking about. This is a pretty iffy way to go about this. You look up this auditor and meet with him. You see Church certificates on the wall for the various levels he has completed. But those certificates were issued by the Church, and in addition to the Church having canceled them, you don’t know which iteration of the Tech they come from. So basically, they’re useless. What you’d like to see is that someone else vouched for this person’s Tech, someone relatively recent and at least as well trained. Preferably someone you trust. But nothing like this is currently set up.

Let me suggest an alternative which might work for now. Let’s say your auditor, Alex, has a certificate or letter on his wall, signed by Brian, saying that Brian has checked out Alex’s tech for your level, and has verified that it is good. That is, Brian vouches for Alex. When I say “vouches for”, I mean, “Has seen example(s) of his Tech application for Level X and believes it demonstrates full mastery and application of Standard Tech”.

Let’s say that, if you start tracking this down, you find that Brian has similar certifications on his wall saying that Charlie vouches for his tech. And if you go to Charlie’s house, you find that Charlie is vouched for by David, who’s vouched for by Ed, who’s vouched for by Frank, etc. etc.

This is a “chain of trust”. The entity that vouches for someone could be an actual Academy somewhere which trained them, or just another auditor or C/S. But in any case, it would be more than just a casual, “Oh, he’s a friend of mine who never talks bad about LRH, so he’s okay”. It has to be someone who’s actually witnessed the person’s tech and seen for himself that the tech is “standard”.

This “chain of trust” is a relatively primitive method of ensuring quality, but could work for a far-flung Field with few actual installations to do formal certifications. It has one major weakness: certifications like this can’t last forever. What if the guy’s tech slides away from being “standard” over time? Without periodic review, you’d still see the same certificates on the wall, but after a time, they might not mean much. (Back in the days of real Orgs, a bad auditor auditing in the HGC would be caught eventually by the C/S and corrected.) It’s for certain that some auditors will have back-off on having to be re-certified, not because they’re getting things wrong, but because it’s not all that easy to put together a disc showing a video of the meter, the worksheets, and the PC for a variety of actions.

Here’s where a website for this purpose would come in. This might well be called “Chain of Trust Version 2.0”. In this case, each auditor’s name (or “handle” or whatever) would be listed. Those vouching for him would have their names connected to his, along with their attestations that his tech was good at Level X, and the date. You could follow the “chain of trust” all the way down in one place. You could see where he had re-certified, possibly with different people at different times. If there was an unresolved problem, a C/S or other certifier could have remarks about it, which would stay on the site until the auditor had been corrected. Then the correction could be attested to along with the date. This would be a sort of “qual registry” for Field auditors.

One other potential problem remains. It has been suggested that some, fearing Church reprisals, will want to operate under the radar. That is, no name given. In this case, it could be that the person is assigned a code name for the purpose of appearing on the site. The site owner could be queried about this person’s identity. The site owner would then get credentials of the requesting party, and pass them on to the “mystery” person and that person could investigate the requester further before revealing his/her identity. This could theoretically be done with a minimum of fuss to the site owner.

In any case, this is the best system I can think of for at least attempting some sort of quality control on the Tech in the Field. Currently Milestone Two has supposedly set up an internal system which performs this function, or at least something close to it. I’m not privy to this system, how it operates or who’s involved. So I can’t vouch for their system, even though I would generally vouch for Milestone Two as a standard-seeking organization.

So there you have it. If you have a better idea, post it for discussion. If you can think of refinements or improvements, same answer.

Tech Degrades

I’m going to make a statement that I couldn’t have gotten away with inside the Church, neither now nor back when I got into Scientology in 1976.

SOP 4, from the latter days of Philadelphia Doctorate Course, is no longer in use.

Why wouldn’t I get away with saying that? Because it violates HCOPL 17 June 1970 URGENT AND IMPORTANT TECHNICAL DEGRADES, of course.

Or does it?

Prefatory material on that policy:

Any checksheet in use or in stock which carries on it any degrading statement must be destroyed and issued without qualifying statements.

Example: Level 0 to IV Checksheets SH carry “A. Background Material– This section is included as an historical background, but has much interest and value to the student. Most of the processes are no longer used, having been replaced by more modern technology. The student is only required to read this material and ensure he leaves no misunderstood.” This heading covers such vital things as TRs, Op Pro by Dup! The statement is a falsehood.

These checksheets were not approved by myself, all the material of the Academy and SH courses IS in use.

Such actions as this gave us “Quickie Grades”, ARC Broke the field and downgraded the Academy and SH Courses.

A condition of TREASON or cancellation of certificates or dismissal and a full investigation of the background of any person found guilty, will be activated in the case of anyone committing the following HIGH CRIMES.

After this point in the PL, there is a list of ten HIGH CRIMES. Some of them simply don’t relate to the statement I just made, because they have to do with checksheets only, and my statement isn’t part of a checksheet or related to one. I’ll list the HIGH CRIMES which might apply only:

2. Adding comments to checksheets or instructions labelling any material “background” or “not used now” or “old” or any similar action which will result in the student not knowing, using, and applying the data in which he is being trained.

4. Failing to strike from any checksheet remaining in use meanwhile any such comments as “historical”, “background”, “not used”, “old”, etc. or VERBALLY STATING IT TO STUDENTS.

10. Acting in any way calculated to lose the technology of Dianetics and Scientology to use or shorten its materials or its application.

Let’s take each in turn. Number 2 relates to a presumably complete and okayed checksheet. Ron talks about the material the student is being trained in (contained on the checksheet). So this high crime relates to invalidating material on an approved checksheet. As a high crime, this makes sense, since it goes to the heart of the point LRH made in the first part of the policy letter. Unfortunately, it therefore doesn’t have anything to do with the statement I made in the beginning. That statement was simply a bald statement made outside the context of any checksheet or course.

Number 4 overlaps somewhat with number 2, but makes it a crime not to strike such statements from any checksheet. Sort of the opposite of number 2, but adds a proviso about verbally stating such things to students. In other words, if the invalidative statement isn’t on the checksheet, but you give it to students verbally anyway, it’s still a crime. An example might be, for a course teaching TRs to students, telling a student that OT TR-0 and TR-0 are mainly of historical significance, but aren’t really in use any more (even though they are rightfully on the TRs course checksheet). Okay, again this has nothing to do with the statement I made in the beginning. I’m not telling students who have SOP 4 on their checksheets that it’s old and not used any more.

Number 10 covers anything that might have been missed in the other high crimes. Here we have to determine that the instructor/speaker is acting in a way which is “calculated to lose the technology of Dianetics and Scientology to use or shorten its materials or its application.” Remember in the case of my statement above, I’m not talking to a student who is studying SOP 4 as part of his course, nor who has it on his checksheet. I’m not acting in a way to shorten its materials or its application. As far as I know, SOP 4 not included on any student’s course. So I’m not shortening any materials or application. Am I acting in a way calculated to lose the technology of Dianetics and Scientology? Well considering that I’m talking about something which is not on any checksheet anywhere, there’s no technology in active use which I’m likely to or liable to lose.

Incidentally, in case you’re wondering, LRH makes a clear statement on tape that not even he knows what happened to SOP 4. Apparently, SOP moved directly from version 3 to version 5, bypassing version 4 entirely. It is never described anywhere because it was simply skipped. That’s why I can comfortably make my statement above. Kind of a “trick” statement, actually.

In any case, for decades people have been afraid to use the terms “old”, “not used any more” and such for anything in Scientology, largely because of this policy letter. And I have no doubt that people have been “hit” (targeted with justice actions) for over-active misinterpretations of this policy. I know I’ve been hit for it. But this happens only because of people not carefully reading the policy letter and applying it correctly.

One has to correctly consider the context of policies in applying them, and not apply them in contexts in which they don’t belong. In the case of Technical Degrades, the context is explained right there in the policy letter, as well as the problem the policy letter is attempting to resolve.

The fact is, there is a lot of material introduced early in Scientology which is factually “old” and “not used anymore”, which was superceded either immediately or years later by other technology. To act like it’s not there or not call it what it is is like pretending not to notice the elephant in the middle of the room. Stating that it’s “old” or “not used any more” does not in the least invalidate its workability. When it was originally introduced, it was workable, just like the technology which eventually replaced it, which was probably even more workable.

Some day we’ll be in a position to again enforce this policy letter with legitimate justice actions. When that happens, let’s be clear about where it applies and where it doesn’t. And let’s not lie to ourselves and withhold our voices to steer clear of an important policy which may be applied incorrectly.

The Basics

I recently read through a blog post elsewhere complaining about the so-called “Basics”. In fact, once people had a chance to read the original post, there were a lot of commenters complaining about the Basics.

(Let’s be clear. I’m not an apologist for the Church of Scientology or its management. Just the opposite. “The Basics” was a program to extract more money from the public for a product they didn’t need. It may also have been a way to recapture the copyrights of the LRH works after having lost them. I have no illusions about the nefarious motives of the Church in issuing these materials.)

First, there were complaints about the name: “The Basics”. The problem apparently was that “The Basics” included things like the Philadelphia Doctorate Course (PDC) and Creation of Human Ability (COHA), which are actually quite advanced material. That is, “The Basics” included material which was not in any way “basic” in the sense of “elementary”. However, this material is basic in the sense that it is part of the basis of what later became the Bridge. But it’s still kind of a silly complaint, since “The Basics” was a marketing name for all this stuff. The material could better have been called the “Pre-Bridge” materials, since that’s exactly what they are. But again, “The Basics” was just a marketing name, not something I’d put enough attention on to complain about.

Second, there were complaints that the Basics were too steep a gradient. I happen to disagree with this assessment. The Basics comprised a study of the books and lectures from 1950 through to about the early 1960s. From 1950 to 1952/54, the track of research went rapidly from engrams to the state of OT, its capabilities and the techniques by which one would create OTs. The lectures and books reflected that track, including the Philadelphia Doctorate Course. There were people there at the time, auditors and enthusiasts, who had been through prior lecture series, and some who hadn’t been. These materials weren’t necessarily out gradient for those attending, so I fail to see how they’re necessarily out-gradient now, particularly when you consider that the Basics includes all the materials leading up to the PDC. That said, I would not put this stuff in front of newbies. There are real Scientology “basics” they need to learn first, like the ARC triangle and the Tone Scale.

Third, the Basics checksheets lack the necessary mass. Well, I’ve never seen the checksheets, so I don’t know. But mass could be added in the form of clay demos, doll drills, etc. And if your checksheet doesn’t include proper mass for the course you’re studying, it’s your job to wear your student hat, identify the “lack of mass” study phenomenon, and come up with a fix yourself. (Though admittedly, the authors of the checksheet would also need a cram on “lack of mass” as well.)

Fourth is the implication that raw public (or those with inadequate set-up at least) are being put on these courses. I can’t speak to this, as I don’t know. However I wouldn’t personally recommend a raw public be put on these courses. Those who attended these lectures in the 1950s and read these books when they were first published were generally dedicated to auditing and thoroughly studying the subject, something that can’t be said for raw public. I would suggest a prerequisite of, say, the HQS, before putting someone on the full “Basics” study track.

Fifth was actually a missing complaint, the fact that The Basics were a prerequisite for almost anything and everything on the Bridge. No one seemed to complain about this, but it’s a very legitimate complaint. LRH never required the prior study of these materials for anything that I know of. And since their study lengthens the runway on almost everything else by quite a bit, I’d have to say that requiring The Basics as has been done is a Bad ThingTM.

Sixth is the complaint that the “library program” (to put The Basics into every library in the world) is a huge mistake. I’d have to agree completely here. As has been noted, this material contains advanced topics, which the casual library patron has no business reading about or listening to. Of course, by now it should be clear that the Church’s motivation with regard to this program was simply another money grab.

Seventh, someone implied that forcing people to study “The Basics” was like dumping random Scientology data on the wrong public. Their precise quote was from PAB 38: “you cannot avalanche data onto the heads of partially trained, pooly comprehending people, or people who have no real conversance with auditing at all”. I would refer this person to Data Series 48. The quote: “The Data Series PLs must be studied in sequence.” The Basics is precisely an in-sequence study of all the data. All this assumes that the person has some familiarity with auditing and true Scientology “basics”. Not raw public and not pure PCs. The original attendees of these lectures were not raw public or pure PCs either. They were auditors and true enthusiasts. Remember that the PDC, for example, was called the Philadelphia DOCTORATE Course.

While some of the complaints are valid, I’d guess the real reasons behind a lot of these complaints were

  • people didn’t want to do the courses in the first place and have protest BPC
  • people didn’t actually understand what they studied on the courses

Let’s keep in mind that most of these materials have been available one way or another since the day they were issued, and LRH never forbade their study. So if you’re of a mind to study them and are willing to faithfully wear your student hat and delve deep into the mysteries of OTs, aliens, universes and the like, have a blast. (If you’re currently studying on the left side of the Bridge, please continue that first.)

Children and Choices

This is another of those essays based purely on my observations of life, not based on something LRH said. However, without the aid of LRH’s tech, I might never have been able to make these observations.

Because of circumstances beyond my control, I attended five elementary schools (for foreigners, an elementary school here is grades one through seven). As a result, every year or so, I had to make a whole new set of friends and adapt to a new school environment. Fortunately for me, all five schools were in the same city at least.

At one point in auditing, I was being asked questions about each successive grade I attended, starting from first grade. All went fine until we got to fifth grade. I could remember almost nothing about the grade at all. No teachers, no idea of the classes I was enrolled in, what I was taught, anything. I knew I had attended fifth grade, because I remember what school it was. Moreover, as a relatively bright kid with responsible parents, I knew my parents would have been interested in my schooling and I would have received stern punishment if my grades had dipped below a “B” (on an A – F scale). And yet I could not remember a thing about actually being in class. My auditor got his money’s worth out of his meter for these sessions. As he guided me, various pictures drifted in an out from the time period.

As it turns out, there were bullies in my fifth grade class. Apparently I was sufficiently intimidated by them that I didn’t want to be in their presence. My solution? Exteriorize and send the body to school, then interiorize on the way home. With the help of my auditor, I recalled the intersection where I typically exited the body each day and later re-entered it. Recalling this in session, I was stunned, since I had no idea I had been doing this at the time. It must have worked out okay, because I don’t recall my parents being upset with me at the time for bad grades or anything. I imagine, though, that it would have gotten pretty interesting if my parents had probed me carefully about what was going on in my classes.

As goofy or as wise a decision as it was to bug out and then bug back in every day, I had to admit that it was certainly an unusual choice.

The next year, I went to a different school. Again, I was a new kid in class. As you’ll probably recall from your school years, you often end up associating with a particular group of people in your classes, and virtually ignoring others. So it was with me. One of the kids I remember was Hal and his girlfriend, Ellen (their real names). Hal was a standout because he was a star athlete in both football and basketball. But what was most remarkable about Hal was that, at the tender age of 12, he was already having sex with Ellen. This was not a brag of his, the way it would be with most kids. Ellen was a fully developed young lady, if you catch my drift, and Hal had a habit of fondling her breasts in class, a habit Ellen encouraged. So when Hal alluded to having sex with her (and her agreeing it was true), we didn’t doubt it. Still, at 12, that was a pretty extraordinary thing to the rest of us.

But Hal was a sort of side light and not the focus of this story. One of his friends was Glen (also his real name). Glen was a hilarious character. He was always telling tales about the unusual people in his neighborhood. I remember he talked a lot about a guy named Benny, who apparently was addicted to animal crackers; you know, those cookies in the shape of circus animals that came in a box which looked like a circus animal cage. Glen was full of stories about people like Benny, and always told the stories in a way that made you laugh until you were crying. I admired Glen’s ability to come up with such funny stories (even if he was helped by the amusing and colorful characters in his neighborhood), and tell them in such a hilarious way. Needless to say, Glen was also a smart aleck, and one who, not surprisingly, didn’t make grades that were all that good. He was not known for his brilliance in class, let’s say.

Now, when I was a kid, I didn’t believe I had that much going for me. I didn’t have flaming good looks or extraordinary athletic ability. I didn’t have charm or charisma, as far as I knew. I was a shy kid, with one and only one thing going for me– I was a pretty bright kid. This point was emphasized frequently by my parents. They wanted me to do well in life, and my intelligence was the key to that, as far as they were concerned.

So here I was in sixth grade, marveling at Hal’s exploits and laughing at Glen’s. Being the “smart kid” in this little mini-group wouldn’t have gotten me much. I knew that instinctively. Intelligence wasn’t something they valued. In fact, it probably would have gotten me made fun of and teased a lot. So I mostly just listened and shut up. While I admired these kids, I knew I could never match Hal at anything he was good at. (And I wouldn’t have known what to do with a real girl if you put us alone together.) But it occurred to me that maybe I could try and approach Glen’s funniness. After all, in the five years of school before this, I’d never really stood out anywhere I’d gone. I was relatively shy and had mostly just done what the teachers had asked of me without being any sort of extraordinary student. Maybe I could have gotten straight “A”s, but if “B”s were good enough for my parents, they were good enough for me.

So I got it into my head that I wanted to be like Glen. I started cracking jokes in class. I made some fledgling steps at being the class clown, the way Glen was. Technically, I was taking on Glen’s beingness. After all, it appeared to be a winning beingness, at least among the people I was hanging around with. (Of course, knowing nothing about Scientology at the time, I couldn’t and wouldn’t know about this aspect of it until years later.)

This went on for a few days or weeks (not very long, as I recall). Then one day I was in the back of the classroom, looking up something in the dictionary, and it occurred to me that I shouldn’t have to look this thing up in the dictionary. I should have known this. And it seemed like in an earlier period, I would have known something like this (whatever it was) without having to look it up. I wondered what was going on. Somehow I’d gotten less bright. But how could that have happened?

And then it hit me. The enormity of it rocked me backward from where I sat on the floor with the dictionary in my lap. I had decided to be like Glen, and Glen was not particularly a bright kid. Funny, yes. Smart, no. And in trying to do what Glen did, I had taken on the beingness of Glen. Instantly I focused on my future and what it looked like for me, particularly if I continued along this path. It didn’t look that promising. And at that moment I decided that trying to be another Glen was a bad idea; in fact, a truly horrendous idea. And I remembered when I had made that choice.

Next it hit me, what a close call that was. I could have gone the whole rest of my life as some not-quite-bright smart alecky guy who could make people laugh but that was about it. All because of some casual decision I’d made in sixth grade and then forgotten about.

I’ve remembered the details of that period in my life vividly, just as I’ve relayed them to you. They struck me as profound at the time and still do. They made me realize that children are prone to making decisions like this without giving it a second thought. And as they go through life, these decisions influence who they are, where they go, what they think, and ultimately can have a profound influence on how successful they are in life, and in what areas. This incident also made me cautious from then on about adopting other beingnesses wholesale, without proper prior circumspection.

As a parent, I was also very conscious of the way my daughter approached things. You can never know about everything your kids think, but hopefully you can detect if something changes in the way they approach life. In my daughter’s case (she’s actually my step-daughter; she and I met for the first time when she was five), many of the decisions she made about life appear to have been made either this lifetime before I met her, or on earlier track. And some of her more unfortunate decisions were made at a time (high school) when she wouldn’t have told me the time of day if I’d asked her.

Fortunately, this caution about beingnesses helped me avoid certain people and groups. By the time I was in high school, people had largely segregated themselves into certain, definite cliques. I avoided the stoners. I avoided the jocks (by high school, I had developed a bit more athletic ability). I avoided the goat ropers (chewing tobacco and wearing cowboy hats and pointy boots every day? Really?). I wasn’t a drama or band geek (no interest really) or a ROTC nazi (pronounced “rotsee notsee”; ROTC is Reserve Officer Training Corps, which lines kids up to be in the military after high school). I ended up making friends in all kinds of groups, but not being part of those groups and not adopting their beingnesses.

As I aged through my teens and twenties, I lost a lot of my shyness. I developed more self-confidence, the ability to laugh at myself, and a modicum of charm. And a much better sense of humor. I also developed the ability to assume other beingnesses temporarily for the purpose of humor. (Oh, and I also figured out what to do with girls, fortunately.)

I’ve looked back on those times often over the years. It amazes me the kinds and magnitudes of decisions children make without giving them a second thought.

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